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Court Agrees That Workers’ Challenge to USDA’s Disregard for Their Safety in New Swine Inspection System Can Move Forward

Statement of Adam Pulver, Attorney, Public Citizen

Note: A Minnesota federal court on Wednesday largely denied the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) motion to dismiss claims brought by workers in swine slaughter plants challenging the agency’s “New Swine Inspection System.” That system eliminates limits on the maximum speed at which plants can operate their slaughter lines. The court found that workers had shown that they were likely to suffer increased risks of repetitive stress injuries and lacerations as a result of increased line speeds. It also held that the workers had adequately alleged that the USDA’s explanations for disregarding the impact on worker safety when issuing its rule were not rational. Adam Pulver, attorney for Public Citizen, is representing members of UFCW and three of its locals. Read more about the case.

“Today’s decision recognizes that, on its face, the USDA’s rule is fundamentally flawed. The agency not only disregarded the impact of its actions on worker safety, but its explanations for doing so were internally inconsistent, based on circular logic and unsupportable by the law. We look forward to quickly moving forward with the case and bringing an end to this dangerous rule.”